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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting my bike pretty soon and have decided that I want to do a hard break in. After a fair amount of research I feel that it would be the best way to break in my bike. The problem is that I live in a city and don't have too many empty country roads or a track around here to do that kind of break in properly.
Where might I be able to do this in the safest and legal way possible?
 

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Remember seating the piston rings depends on rpms of the engine, not speed, so you could do the hard break-in all in 1st gear without ever going very fast. I don't do it this way cause I have lots of secondary roads to do the break-in, plus it would be a little jerky going to redline in 1st, then closing the throttle.


I did most of the breaking in in 2nd and 3rd gears as I recall. Be sure to slowly warm the bike up and get the engine hot before you take the bike to red line if that's what you are doing. You probably know you don't have to accelerate fast to get there. Then when you reach redline...some say just short of redline and some say just over redline....I go just short of redline, then immediately close the throttle to create back pressure on the pistons, but do not brake. Let the bike slow to maybe 3000 rpms, then accelerate again to redline in that same gear, or you could go up or down a gear to repeat. Redline in 2nd gear is about 45 mph as I recall, so you could do that without ever speeding on many roads, just watch for traffic behind you when you slow by engine braking. Repeat 20 times or so. That's how I do it anyway. I probably only have 10-20 miles on the bike by this time since I had to ride it home usually, then I just ride around going up and down the gears and up and down the rpms to get to 100 miles or so (many say 50 miles) then change the oil and filter. It's just that whenever I've changed the oil at 50 miles, the oil looks clean. At 100 miles it needs changing if you have been breaking the bike in hard. It will be dark with some metal flakes in it. I still vary the rpms a lot at least until the 2nd oil and filter change at 600 miles or a little later. Then I consider it broken in and ride it normally. I seldom get the bike to redline except during break-in. When I broke in my gixxer 1000, I did almost all of it in 2nd gear. Red line in 6th gear is 180 mph which is much faster than I ever rode the bike. If your 300 is like mine, you won't be able to get to redline in 6th gear. 87 mph and 9100 rpms seems to be top speed for mine on a flat road anyway. It would go faster and higher rpms going downhill, but there is no advantage to using the higher gears to break the bike in. Several versions of the hard break-in, but this seems to be the most common technique.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is really good to know. Being able to break my bike in the way that I want it broke in as opposed to having a 2nd hand bike that's already been broke in makes me really happy.
So basically all I have to do is get a good varying range in rpm's on a warm engine under load to get it broke in this way? It doesn't matter so much speed because the engine is still under load and you're still varying the rpm's and engine breaking. Is that right?
 

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The beauty of small displacement motorcycles like these, is that you can actually 'ride it like you stole it' without necessarily breaking the speed limit on a 55 MPH road.

Most engine builders say you've got about 20 miles or so to do a hard break in and seat the rings on a new engine...

...Ride It Like You Stole It.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess the thing I am most scared of is not the speed but the engine breaking in city / suburb area. Getting up to speed won't be a problem but slowing down right after might present a problem especially doing it 15-20 times in a row... The cops might not like that idea much at all.
 

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Perhaps your dealer's manager (or service manager) may have some idea / advise as to when and where to perform / complete the break-in you speak of, and without risking getting into the trouble you're worried about. :confused:
 

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Honda doesn't advise a high RPM break in. Instead they specifically say to take it easy during the break in period. I trust the Honda engineers more than I do the internet "engineers." They designed the engine and they know what's best for it. You will not see a quantifiable drop in performance either way IMO.
 

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@DWisen - you will get a lot of differing opinions here. I say just break it in how you want to, you've done your homework and its your bike at the end of the day.
Personally I'm in the 'do it hard' camp. I know some guys do it on the Dyno to get around the issues of riding on the road but this is an expensive option.
 

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Could it be that Honda recommends the "easy" break-in to avoid any possible liability issues?
Good point... even if "ride the snot out of it" were the universally accepted break in method, no motorcycle manufacturer (and their legal departments) would even think about recommending such a thing in an Owner's Manual. And their dealers have to be very careful what they say to customers as well.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes. Manufacturers refuse to update the manuals because of liability issues that can arise. They prefer the play it safe method and I can't blame them.
 

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Yes. Manufacturers refuse to update the manuals because of liability issues that can arise. They prefer the play it safe method and I can't blame them.
It's not a situation of manufacturers refusing to update manuals... Owner's Manuals and Service Manuals are often updated from one model year to the next for various reasons, mainly as model specifications change.

But, it is true that every piece of information they put in their publications has to go through their legal departments, to make sure they don't have any potential legal issues or lawsuits arising from what these publications contain.

This is what the 2012 CBR250R/RA Owner's Manual (USA version, page 10) has regarding break in:

Running In Period
During the first 300 miles (500 km) of running, follow these guidelines to ensure your motorcycle's future reliability and performance.

* Avoid full-throttle starts and rapid acceleration.
* Avoid hard braking.
* Ride conservatively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That last one doesn't leave a lot of room for interpretation.
Its cool though, I found a place I should be able to do the break in the way I want to do it.
 

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If it's detrimental to the engine to break it in the way Honda states in the manual, then they would find another way to word it. You can ride it "hard" or follow their recommended break in procedure, either way the engines reliability and performance should be virtually identical.

One thing I've quickly learned is the Internet motorcycle word is filled with opinions, folklore and outdated information. Reading the hard break in oil change intervals made me cringe.
 

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One thing I've quickly learned is the Internet motorcycle word is filled with opinions, folklore and outdated information. Reading the hard break in oil change intervals made me cringe.
Thats interesting because, as a qualified engineer, it makes perfect sense to me and I agree with the theory behind it.
Not saying my opinion is the right one tho! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
At first i thought it insane that anyone could break in a engine this way. As I started doing more research into it though it began making more sense. As for the oil change schedule, yes it may be a bit much but think about what is going on inside the engine.
When you choose to break in this way you are pushing the bike/car/truck etc and getting all the loose metals and debris left over from the manufacturing process loose.
Where does that go? That's right into the oil. What does the oil do? Oil helps lubricate the engines components. Why would you want dirty oil circulating in your engine?

The whole process makes perfect sense to me. As for the gains in HP or torque, I don't care about that so much. What I do care about in the long run is a well running, well maintained engine that will last. Matter of fact this is one of the reasons I decided to buy brand new over getting a used bike. You never know how that bike was treated by the previous owner.
 

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I guess I'm use to the new car world... there, you don't change out your starting oil for out for thousands of miles. My 13 V6 Accord didn't get changed until 7000+ miles, the I4's can go for 10000+ miles between a change, that's what Honda tells you to do with their Maintenance Minder. Changing it out earlier than 15% is considered a waste. This is partly due to improved oil. Honda uses a break in oil blend in their autos, not sure about motorcycles. Dumping that out early is detrimental to the engine break in. The oil filter is there to capture metal particles that are large enough to harm the engine. Honda can (and does) predict the average break-in wear on a new engine and estimates when the first oil/filter change should occur. I guess it's different for motorcycles, but I'm stuck on the "follow Honda's directions" mentality.
 

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I don't think there is a downside to an early oil change. The only thing I can think of is that after an oil change the oil pump needs to be re-primed so the oil light stays on a little longer and so there is not circulating oil for a couple of seconds. I doubt this is significant. If you do a hard break-in, you probably shouldn't wait until 600 miles for the first oil change. Personal experience has shown the oil is dark and dirty with bits of metal at 200 miles with a hard break-in. I guess I've never seen the oil at 600 miles cause the only time I've waited that long was when I got a free first oil change with the purchase of a new bike.


Does anyone ride a scooter? Many of those have wire filters in addition to spin-on filters just inside the oil plug. Anyway the wire filters (sometimes they are plastic mesh instead of wire) trap metal fragments. It's easier to see the debris on that wire screen than in the oil or inside a spin-on filter. Anyway, I break in scooters the same way I break in motorcycles. At 200 miles, there has always been metal fragments on that oil screen. There is much less or even none on subsequent oil changes. This leads me to believe that an early oil change is a good idea.
 

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I did the first oil & filter change on my 250R at 200 miles, along with all of the other first service checks & adjustments. The oil was fairly dark with fine metallic particles... it looked like bronze metallic paint. On all of my oil changes since then, the oil comes out a bit darker than what new oil looks like, but with no metallic particles whatsoever.

On the topic of oil changes, I'm of the opinion that 8000 miles between oil changes that Honda recommends is too long of an interval, particularly for mineral based oils. Even with a synthetic oil, I think 8000 miles is pushing it. With these engines having less than 2 quarts of oil in the crankcase, I prefer to err on the side of more frequent oil changes. I've been running Valvoline 4T 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil in my 250R since the second change at 5000 miles, which is the interval I've been using going forward

For those using mineral oils, I think 3000 to 4000 miles would a reasonable service interval. Oil & filters are inexpensive, engine rebuilds are not.
 
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